Peter Igo Park has Earned Tennis Industry's Public Park of the Year Award
Ten years ago, the 17-acre Peter Igo Park abutting Green Harbor River in Marshfield, MA, had deteriorated from neglect. Enter the Friends of Peter Igo Park, a group of tennis enthusiasts-turned-fundraisers. Their newly designed, handicap-accessible facility with enhanced programming has earned Tennis Industry's Public Park of the Year Award.
About Peter Igo Park
Peter Igo Park, with its seventeen acres abutting the Green Harbor River and in close proximity to the Brant Rock Esplanade, was built over four decades ago in what is now a high-density population area of Marshfield. As a result of neglect, the facility has slowly deteriorated while becoming a magnet for trash disposal and unwanted activities. An upgrade of this valuable property would transform a neighborhood eyesore into a vibrant, attractive park in which the entire Town could proudly enjoy.
Peter Igo Park Initiative
The "Friends of Peter Igo Park", a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and subset of a registered non-profit Marshfield Tennis Club (MTC), was formed in 2008 to reverse the Park’s decline and promote the Park as multi-sports fitness area for all ages. The planned vision is to build new tennis courts, including 10 and under tennis courts, a full size basketball court, a multiple use sports area, a play area, and a picnic grove. A facility centered on physical activity creates an opportunity to reduce childhood obesity and diabetes. New tennis facilities will allow for programs to include the handicapped (ADA compliant courts), cardio tennis, and youth instruction. Future improvements could include some physical fitness stations and a perimeter-walking path. The renovations stay within the existing footprint, thus causing low impact. All improvements would be built to industry standards. There is currently a mulched path to the Green River enhanced with a dock to allow kayakers, canoeists, and paddle boarders, a loading area. This area is abundant with wildlife, meandering through the Daniel Webster Farm property, and has historical significance in that Daniel Webster himself hunted and fished these grounds. Peter Igo Park, being within walking distance to restaurants and shops, would be an added bonus with increased use of this facility. A renovated Peter Igo Park would fill a great need, not just for the beach community but also for the entire town. With CPA sponsorship, the restoration of Peter Igo Park can come to fruition.
The rehabilitation of Peter Igo Park will reach an underserved population of Marshfield. Oftentimes, the “beach communities” have been abandoned with new fields, playgrounds, and facilities being established in the downtown area, the school district, or Coast Guard Hill. This property is situated in the heart of the villages of Fieldston, Ocean Bluff, Brant Rock, and Green Harbor. There are around 1200 households within a two-mile radius of this existing park. Currently, there are no playable public tennis courts anywhere in the town of Marshfield. United States Tennis Association (USTA) certified instructors deemed the tennis courts at PIP, as they currently exist, a liability risk.
Additionally, this renovated park plan will serve all ages of the population as well as the handicapped. The renovated park will not only be ADA compliant but will allow participation in USTA wheelchair tennis, wheelchair basketball, and other handicapped sports where allowable. Few opportunities exist in Marshfield for handicapped sports participation. Focusing on physical fitness addresses a critical health concern – increased obesity and diabetes, especially for the youth. The proposed plans to rebuild the facilities will stay within the existing footprint, still leaving much open space for enjoyment and beauty. A uniqueness of Peter Igo Park is its non-tidal river frontage on the Green Harbor River. Currently, to access this waterway, canoeists and kayakers unload by the Dyke Road bridge, creating a traffic hazard or oftentimes illegally parking
there, to then slide vessels and passengers underneath guardrails down an unstable steep bank to access the water. This new plan offers them both safe off-street parking and a safe pathway to the riverbank. Recreation programs could be expanded to include use of canoes, already stored in the maintenance building, and other water oriented activities. More usage of the grounds is projected to reduce the need for police patrols. All these positive goals would be addressed by the renovation of Peter Igo Park while removing a liability and eyesore for the town.
Under the guidance of the Peter Igo Park Initiative (PIPI), numerous actions have already been undertaken to launch an upgrade of the park. Several fundraisers have been held and donations have been received, both monetary and as “services in kind” to assist in these initial steps. Wetland areas and setbacks were noted and staked, with assistance from Jay Wennemer, conservation agent and John Zimmer, a wetland scientist. Grady Consulting of Kingston generated a professional site plan. A thirty-nine page engineering specification was generated by USTA technical staff, utilizing industry standards. In the past year, volunteers cleared household goods, metal and other trash from the Southeast quadrant. With approval from the town, trees and brush in the SE quadrant were thinned allowing better visibility into the park, opening space for some picnic facilities and as importantly, allowing monitoring of unwanted activities easier. The river path has been maintained; a permit application for a small float was submitted to enable easier water access. Peter Igo Park Initiative (PIPI), supported by Marshfield Tennis Club (MTC) and other community members, continues to grow its volunteer base. Town support for this proposal to renovate Peter Igo Park has the backing of John Hall, chairman, and the Marshfield Board of Selectmen, the Marshfield Department of Public Works, the Marshfield Recreation Commission, Peter Dowd of the ADA Committee, the Marshfield Planning Board, Marshfield Kiwanis Club, Police Chief Phil Tavares, Senator Robert Hedlund, Representative Jim Cantwell, Bob Carroll of the South Shore YMCA, and the Marshfield Hardwood Club. Abutters have come forward to express their support..